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Coming Home

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By Ashlee Duren | Photos by Amy J. Owen

When Sherri-Aynn and Brian Collins first visited the quaint, picturesque town of Madison, they immediately fell in love with it. The couple lived in the Druid Hills area of Atlanta for 30 years and, until four years ago, had never been to with the quintessential Southern town.

“I mean, we lived so close but we had never been here until my husband and I were invited to the wedding of a dear friend,” Collins explained. “We were absolutely blown away. It was such a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of busy Atlanta.”

After returning to Atlanta, the couple discussed the idea of retiring to Madison. Fast forward a few of years when Covid hit and the entire world came to a screeching halt. Like everyone else in the country, the two found themselves housebound with a little extra time on their hands.

Collins said her husband was browsing Zillow when he stumbled upon their next home. “Brian said, ‘Sherri-Aynn, I think I just found our new house,’” Collins said. “We reached out to the real estate agent and drove to take a look the next day. We absolutely fell in love with it.”

And the rest — as they say — is history.

Subsequently, their timeline for moving accelerated a bit. They purchased the home in July 2020 and spent their first of many Christmases at their new residence.

“I must say, last Christmas was probably our ‘homiest’ Christmas ever,” Collins said. “I absolutely loved it.”

The Starke-Hunt House, built in 1835 by John W. Starke, features four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The 4300 square-foot home sits on nearly four acres with 100 year-old magnolia trees, among many other species of mature flora and fauna, just minutes from the heart of downtown Madison.

The house has been renovated through the years by previous owners. The kitchen showcases a modern design featuring a large island complete with a waterfall  marble countertop. The property also has a pool and a tennis court, which is perfect since Brian played tennis in college. The barn has been transformed into an elegant guest house welcoming family and friends who visit.

The couple has not only fallen in love with their new home and town, but also its residents. According to Collins, the people of Madison have been more than welcoming to the Atlanta transplants.

“Everyone is just so nice,” she said. “We absolutely love it here,.We  can walk downtown to grab dinner or drinks.”

With another Christmas rapidly approaching, Collins is looking  forward to making more holiday memories.

“Last year it was so nice being able to walk around the property and clip all the greenery I could ever need,” Collins remarked.

With the size of the home and areas to decorate, Collins had space for four Christmas trees and is looking forward to expand that number to six this year.

“Brian said he didn’t care as long as I didn’t ask him to put on the lights,” she said with a laugh.

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